Low public awareness blamed for railway traffic accidents
  • |, nld | October 28, 2016 09:37 AM
 >>  Six killed after car crosses railway
A large number of level crossings illegally opened by local people along the north-south railway has been identified as one of the main causes for the high number of railway accidents in Vietnam, according to railway management companies.

  A level crossing on Truong Chinh District in Danang City without gate and traffic lights. Several accidents have been reported here.

A report from the Thanh Hoa Railway Management Company which is managing some 101.2 kilometres of tracks running through Thanh Hoa and part of Nghe An provinces showed that there were 68 recognised level crossings, but 117 more have been illegally opened by local people.

These illegally-opened crossings have seen several fatal traffic accidents every year. And even though the railway sector has upgraded some of these crossings and deployed more staff, the situation has not improved greatly to poor awareness of some drivers.

Along the 40-kilometre rail track running through the northern province of Nam Dinh, there are as many as 320 level crossings and only 50 of them are officially operated and have gates or guards. Accidents occur very often on this track and the latest killed a 50-year-old man in Y Yen District when he was trying to pass a crossing near his house and was struck by a train on October 9.

Many other places, especially crowded residential areas in Hanoi's Thanh Tri District, Danang's Cam Le District, Nghe An's Nghi Loc District or Quang Nam's Dien Ban District have reported a high number of railway accidents on illegal crossings.

According to the Quang Nam Province's Traffic Safety Committee, there have been 10 traffic accidents on local railways which killed 11 people over the past ten months.

"Most of these accidents occurred due to a lack of attention by drivers or pedestrians when passing the level crossings that are illegally opened by locals," said the committee's head, Truong Khue.

“There are 76 illegal crossings in our province. And we have proposed to upgrade some which see a large number of vehicles using it to ensure traffic safety. Those small crossings must be closed,” Khue added.

However, vice director of Phu Khanh Railway Management Company, Nguyen Van Hao, said that it would be very difficult to shut down illegal level crossings at crowded resident areas due to the low awareness of local people.

"We've tried to close many such crossings but then found them to open again after a short time," Hao said. "We've also put up fences and warning boards but many of them were removed by local people to make their way across the track."

Hao said that his company is managing 283 kilometres of rail track that runs from Binh Dinh Province to Khanh Hoa Province and people's poor awareness is the biggest challenge to ensure traffic safety.

“I think the most important task is to improve people's awareness in terms of railway traffic safety," Hao stressed. "We have to raise awareness, educate them, make them understand and co-operate with us."

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